HONG KONG, AUG. 7 -- Fears of a mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees from China grew today as more boats arrived in this small British colony.
Three junks carrying 151 Vietnamese boat people sailed into Hong Kong harbor this morning, bringing the total this week to 23 boats and more than 1,000 refugees, officials said.
Emergency meetings between Chinese and Hong Kong officials so far have produced no agreement on ways of stemming the increased flow of the past two months.
Hong Kong asked Peking to restrict the movement of Vietnamese refugees settled in China, official sources said.
"But apparently the Chinese also find it difficult to keep track of these refugees, who are spread in the two southern provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi," one of the sources said.
The flow of refugees normally increases in summer, but more than 3,000 have arrived so far this year from China compared with only 114 all last year.
The Hong Kong government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the refugees will not be considered for resettlement in third countries. Because of the length of time that it takes to identify and process the refugees, some who arrived last year were still awaiting repatriation to China, immigration officials said.
Some refugees told reporters that they left because of rumors in south China that Hong Kong offered better opportunities of resettlement in the West.
Raymond Hall, China's representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in Peking that 20 percent of an estimated 288,000 Vietnamese in China wished to resettle overseas. He denied a Hong Kong newspaper report that quoted him as saying 50,000 Vietnamese refugees were poised to enter the colony.
"We are certainly not anticipating that they will leave in one wave," Hall said.